Pork jelly recipe, also known as aspic, is considered to be food of the Gods in some cultures. It makes an unusual but tasty and light appetizer and it’s a great way to use up undesirable pork parts.
Pork Jelly Recipe
For years (make that my whole life) I actually hated the pork jelly recipe mainly because I witnessed the making process which involves using pork parts I was not fond of at all (disgusted is a more appropriate word for my feelings). But my parents used to LOVE this recipe, they were even looking for ingredients to make it in summer time to my despair. This used to happen during all of my childhood years and made me think winter food is more on the disgusting side so for years I didn’t appreciate it.
Fast forward about 30 years and you’ll find me this Christmas totally digging a bowl of pork aspic next to my family and enjoying every bite. Not sure what exactly happened but as I grow up I start to see the family traditions with different eyes. The fact that my late father used to be crazy about this dish may have a big contribution, I guess, since this was the first Christmas ever without him. It made me feel closer to him, like he was there with me, enjoying one of his favorite recipes.
I also started to see something much more important in this recipe, other than its tastiness. My parents have always struggled with finances and couldn’t afford a lot of fancy food. So using pork parts that are normally not very popular therefore are cheaper enabled them to put more food on the table for us. And they worked hard to make the tastiest dishes ever! Together they were a match from heaven, the best cooks I’ve ever known; their food was simply heavenly!
As I’ve noticed this year, this pork aspic recipe is also very simple to make. It does take a lot of time to boil the ingredients to make the jelly but other than that the process is super simple. And with the right tricks, this recipe could actually look pretty festive. That’s why mom prefers to pour the jelly in nice crystal bowl, add a slice of boiled egg on top and sometimes decorate with parsley and boiled carrots.
No matter how one chooses to decorate it, one thing is certain: this recipe is very savory.
Pork Jelly Recipe
- 2 lb = 1 kg pork trotters, soaked in cold water overnight
- 2 pork ears
- 1 lb = 0.5 kg pork meat with bone
- 1 large onion
- 1 large carrot
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 10 peppercorns
- salt to taste
- 1/2 medium garlic bulb
- 1 hard boiled egg
- Use a large pot and put trotters, ears and meat with bone at the bottom, covered with water, 2-3 fingers above the ingredients.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Keep simmering for 5 hours with no lid on so the water would evaporate. Do not add more water!
- Make sure you clean the impurities that come to the surface on a regular basis.
- After 5 hours, put the carrot, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns and some salt to boil, for an additional hour.
- Remove the ingredients from the pot and leave to cool.
- Filter the broth through 2 layers of fine mesh sieve and a couple of kitchen paper towels.
- Test to see if the broth is gelatiny enough. Pour a teaspoon of broth into a saucer and keep in the freezer for 10 minutes. If it doesn’t get jelly enough, add some gelatin to the broth. You shouldn’t need to do this if the trotters and the meat have enough bone but just in case, keep this trick in mind.
- Peel and smash the garlic and add to the broth. Check if you need more salt.
- Remove the meat from the bone and cut in bite size portions.
- Cut the ears in small cubes or slices.
- Slice the carrot in medium thin slices.
- Add a mixture of meat and carrots at a bottom of a bowl (you can use individual bowls for each serving) and pour the broth to slightly cover the solid ingredients.
- Slice the egg into approx. 1/2″ = 1.25 cm slices and add 1 slice on top of the solid ingredients.
- Refrigerate until firm.
- To remove from the bowl, place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with hot water (optional; you can serve straight in a bowl too which is how I prefer it)
- Decorate (and serve) with parsley or /and chili peppers.